Don’t expect Toyota to leave the Ford Ranger Raptor to steal the hearts and minds of dual-cab ute enthusiasts - the brand is planning a HiLux hero model to rival the Raptor.
CarsGuide can reveal that there are plans afoot to introduce a new range-topping model - possibly with a new engine - in the coming years. It mightn’t be a HiLux Tonka, but it could well have a bigger donk… ah. Sorry.
Toyota Australia head of marketing Sean Hanley told CarsGuide at a recent media event that the brand is looking at what the added Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue versions of the HiLux have done for the HiLux in terms of sales improvement, and he sees even more potential in the expansion of the company’s double cab ute range.
“We have a very formidable competitor in the Ford Ranger in the 4x4 ute market. And let’s not kid ourselves, that is a good competitor,” said Mr Hanley. “And it’s good for Toyota, because it’s keeping us on our toes, right? That’s a good thing.
“I’ve always said competition is healthy. There are good competitors out there, and the Ford Ranger is one of them.”
Hanley went on to explain that the HiLux Rugged, Rugged X and Rogue have given Toyota Australia an additional “4500 incremental sales” since the additional models launched 12 months ago. The HiLux is the country's best-selling vehicle, and is on track to record more than 50,000 sales for the second year straight in 2019.
“I have no doubt that’s the reason we are the market leader in the 4x4 ute segment,” said Mr Hanley.
But, he said, there is more there for Toyota Australia to explore, and there will be more for customers, too.
“Would we like to explore, in the future, powertrain options attached to those types of cars? Do we have plans right now? No we don’t. Are we exploring ways that could be possible in the future? Of course we are.
“There’s something we’re looking at all the time,” said Mr Hanley. “There’s definitely scope - how, or when, we can do that? I’m not sure.
“But it’s not something we are ignoring. There’s definitely more market in that car. We’re not turning a blind eye to it - we just don’t have any announcements on that today.
“To ask me whether Toyota is looking at these expansions and opportunities, do we recognise them? Yes, they’re there, and yes, we are looking at what we can do in the future.
“But the future is some years away,” he said.
Do you want to see a powered-up HiLux? Tell us in the comments below.